Relics of Atlantis (no, not the Mexican luchador)
DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.
Under Azoth Games, James Ray released the third book in the Akashic Tales line of products, Relics of Atlantis, this time inspired by the fabled lost city, treating it as a sort of Akashic culture. This book includes a new veil set, a minor veil, a new earth “lost constellation” (the Smith), 2 archetypes tackling “Atlantean” Trunamers (Demagogues) and Machinesmiths (Orichalcum Smiths), 4 akashic feats, a new race variant (Atlantean humans), a new “akashic” special material (Orichalcum), a construct template, and some bonus material for Machinesmiths to work within the spheres system, all of it with an Atlantis theme.
17 pages of content (not counting covers, ads etc.) for 3.5 bucks (nice), which include:
-The Relics of Atlantis veil set: Before I go into the veils themselves, I have to mention something. This set doesn´t contain a single standard veil, instead including one of each “esoteric” veils unique to specific classes (including blood, interface, ring, storm, title and voice). Why is it important? Because this is storytelling through design, something that should appear more often in RPGs. Having one of each tells us that the Atlanteans had all those special classes in their ranks, marking them as master veilshapers. The 6 veils include:
False Attribution is a voice veil for the great Fisherking class released by the same author. It gives the unusual but fun ability to use your academic knowledge to give weigth to your bluffs! Very cool and a veil that at least one of my bard and mesmerist characters would shape!
Privilege of Advancement is an interface veil for the Helmsman class, and makes you better at dealing with technological items. Cool and fitting!
The First title veil for rajahs. This one gives a Sacred bonus to initiative, which is an interesting deviation from the Insight type normally given by veils. Apart from initiative, The First become more difficult to affect with enchantment magic and can use some themselves in the form of the command spell.
The Swallowing Sea is a storm veil for stormbounds. It gives the ability to surround yourself in water! It includes some caveats to avoid the exploitation of the sea water, and you could summon sea creatures or even swim yourself in such water! The bind lets your personal mini-sea to become wild and entangle foes in it. Really cool but I want to know if this lets me use my swim speed on land LOL!
Timaeus' Model is a ring veil for viziers. It gives you a nice, variable-damage touch attack and the ability to create a kind of elemental humanoid called a world soul that you can control and that helps character using abilities with the same descriptor. Once a mont, you can even "reincarnate" in your world soul. Powerful as should be for the strongest veilweaving class.
Twinned Blood is a... well, blood veil for daevics. It lets you create a bond with another creature and take damage in the stead. You can even protect one another via saves when bound. The veil mentions it should be added to the Dominion passion veil list, but I would only allow it if it replaced another veil, since every passion has an exact number of passion veils and adding one to a passion would make them slightly more powerful.
The Relic Seeker minor veil. This one gives a useful ability that makes you sensitive to important objects, going so far as giving you the psychometry occult skill unlock for apprise. I would have given the veil a +1 bonus to appraise for each point of essence, or the ability to use half your veilweaver level instead of your appraise ranks to be more useful, but I get that this is a minor veil.
The Smith lost earth constellation. Lost constellations are signs used by Zodiacs that are not part of one of the standard cosmologies and that replaces one sign. The champion form is an Atlantean (new variant race) Machinesmith, and the equipment form gives you masterwork tools for a craft of your choice that can emulate spells that let you repair and create stuff. Cool sign if a bit on the powerful side.
-2 archetypes: Demagogues are Truenamers (from Interjection Games' Strange Magic) that get the ability to shape a single voice veil, plus some other abilities, that fit the theme of the archetype better, and it even includes favored class bonuses for Gamla and Werespider-kin! Orichalcum Smith are constelation-summoning Machinesmiths that fuse their technology with constellations, even treating summoned equipment and arms as if made by orichalcum! I'm not very familiar with Machinesmiths, but the hack sounds bonkers cool! Note that this archetype can and should summon The Smith constelation.
-4 Akashic feats: All of them are "wall" akashic feats for Fisherkings that let you modify your containment field. Treble Walls is the basic feat and lets you manifest an alternate aura. Wall of Brass protects your allies. Wall of Orichalcum empowers your allies with a special type of temporary essence and burns the essence of enemies. Wall of Tin lets you roll a number of d20s and record the numbers. You can later change your rolls or your enemies' with side results! Great ability!
-New Race: Atlantean are variant humans with some minor akashic abilities. They are cool and you could adapt them to your games by modifying their Greek lore. It includes variant race traits, racial traits, and 24 favored class bonuses, including 13 akashic classes! (no Kheshig though) This is what that variant race from Incarnum wants to be when it grows up LOL!
-New Special Material: Orichalcum is a heavy metal that absorbs ambient essence. As such, it improves the akashic proprierties of items made of it, and there is even a Orichalcum core construct template!
-Bonus material: Sphere Machinesmiths modify their base engine to use the Spheres system, which is a popular enough subsystem to justify its inclussion.
Of Note: As mentioned under the veil set, the way the author tells part of the story of Atlantis through the gamedesign is a thing of beauty.
Anything wrong?: If I were to critique something, it would be the ties of the lore with the Greek myth. Not all campaigns have an "Atlantis", so maybe making it a lost demiplane or avoiding specific names like Poseidon and just use "Deity of the Sea" would have made it more setting-neutral. Also, some adventure hooks would have been nice.
What I want: A big Atlantean party made only of akashic characters would rock. I would love to be part of such a party.
What cool things did this inspire?: Some changes here and there could make Atlantis into a cool city to investigate and adventure in. Maybe all of the island became undead (thinking zombies, akashic vampires, ghosts etc,). Or better yet, make Atlantis the homeland of Androids and give them Atlantean abilities. THAT could be the genesis of a cool "gearpunk" adventure!
Do I recommend it?: If you are interested in Atlantis and use akashic magic in your games, then go for it! Nowadays, you can find information on things like the Truenamer and Machinesmith legally on-line, so even if you don't have all the books referenced you can fully utilize this book. I offer 4.5 starfish, rounded up, for this cool little book!
[5 of 5 Stars!]